Teaching STEM with Drones

The past few years have seen a bigger focus on STEM subjects in schools across the world, as educators help students prepare for a potential career in the science and technology fields.

One of the great things about STEM subjects is the opportunity they offer for the introduction of a variety of new technologies into education, such as drones.

As pointed out in a recent article from Edtech Magazine, the Young Women’s Leadership Academy in Fort Worth, Texas, launched the inaugural Bell Drone Competition in April of this year, challenging students to design, build and fly their very own drones.

The students were broken into teams, most of whom had never used a drone before, and were also tasked with programming the drone’s motors and servos.

One of the goals of the competition is to get girls interested in engineering, something which can be achieved easier when presenting lessons in a competitive format that incentives students to learn.

Edtech is revolutionising the classroom to the benefit of students and teachers, but as we can see from the above example there are other ways to get students interested in STEM that are both fun and educational.

Edtech Terms Every Teacher Should Know Pt 2

kid looks at a computer

Today’s piece continues on from last week’s blog about edtech terms every teacher should familiarise themselves with in light of the increasing use of educational technologies in the classroom.

First up is asynchronous learning (also known as e-learning), which is a learning style that focuses on the student by providing them with access to online assignments and resources such as chat and videoconferencing to support learning regardless of where the student is based.

Digital storytelling is another increasingly used form of educational technology, and refers to the combination of narrative with digital content such as video and sound, resulting in an interactive short movie ideal for teaching students about specific topics.

A MOOC is a Massive Open Online Course i.e. a typically free online course available to Internet users—MOOC subjects tend to be quite broad and people of all ages use them to learn and gain new skills.

Similarly, open educational resources are free to access educational materials such as documents and media that can be used in the classroom to teach.

And the final entry on today’s list is the virtual classroom, an online-based learning space accessible through the internet or software that provides teachers with additional tools and often engages students on a greater level than traditional lessons.

Edtech Terms Every Teacher Should Know

Mobile app design and development

Educational technology is becoming more and more prominent in classrooms around the world and with it a whole heap of new terminologies that describe various forms of edtech.

We’ve rounded up some of the most common edtech terms you’re likely to hear over the coming years as educational technology starts to take on a bigger role in the learning process.

Adaptive learning refers to the use of technology to enhance study materials to improve students’ ability.

This technology could be in the form of a computer, tablet or online system, and most edtech tools could be described as adaptive learning.

Blended learning is the use of both edtech and traditional modes of learning when teaching e.g. online resources such as tablets and offline resources like schoolbooks.

Differentiated learning is the technique of tailoring various components of a lesson for each individual student, and is different to personalised learning as you modify the lesson based on the syllabus rather than the student’s strengths.

Gamification describes the use of the gaming elements in teaching e.g. earning points, levelling up and competing with others.

A number of edtech tools use gamification to ensure students are fully engaged with what they’re learning.

The above are just a few of the many edtech terms in use today, and we’ll be covering some of the more technical terminology in later blogs.

Upcoming Event: iClass at Microsoft Breakout

Microsoft is bringing it’s free Microsoft Breakout learning event to the iconic Thomond Park, Co. Limerick, on Wednesday 7th of November for a day of technology workshops and demonstrations.

iClass will be among the exhibitors at next week’s event, which aims to give teachers a new understanding of technology tools such as Office 365 and how they can be used to improve the learning experience for teachers and students.

The first seminar, ‘Class Notebook, CBA, Assessment for Learning and E-Portfolio with Rosin Beaver’ covers software and programs ideal for assessment while the second seminar ‘Collaboration within Microsoft Teams with Brendan Cawley’ discusses the use of Microsoft Teams to support educators and school administrations.

Third on the agenda is ‘Office 365 on iPad with Jamie Johnston’, a workshop on how to leverage the benefits of Office 365, followed by ‘Accessibility and Learning Tools with Sean Glynn’, a detailed look at some of the best edtech learning tools you can introduce to the classroom today.

Don’t forget to visit the iClass stall at Microsoft Breakout to learn more about iClassCMS, the number one website and mobile app solution for schools of all levels.

Click here to register for Microsoft Breakout for free, and please get in touch if you would like to know more about iClass or participate in a free website review.

iClass Announces Partnership with NAPD

iClassCMS, the number one website provider for schools, is delighted to announce the launch of a new partnership with the National Associated of Principals and Deputy Principals at this year’s annual NAPD Conference 2018.

This year’s conference takes place on Thursday, 18th, and Friday, 19th of October at the Galmont Hotel & Spa, on Lough Atalia Road, Galway.

The NAPD Conference is the premier event for second level school leaders in Ireland, and features conference speakers, work-shops for principals and deputy principals, exhibitions and more.

iClass will be launching a new partnership with NAPD at this year’s conference, and school leaders who visit the iClass stand during the conference can avail of an exclusive offer for NAPD attendees.

For more information about the NAPD Conference 2018 and how to purchase tickets, please visit the NADP Conference website.

To learn more about iClassCMS or to arrange a free review of your school’s website, please get in touch with us today.

EdTech Trends: Smartphone Feedback for Homework

The Learnovation EdTech summit took place last week in Croke Park, giving visitors the chance to hear about the biggest upcoming EdTech trends from some of the most knowledgeable people in the EdTech world.

Perhaps one of the more interesting trends we heard about was how a school in England is now using voice feedback to mark homework.

Abdul Chohan, a speaker at Learnovation and the co-founder of The Olive School in Bolton, England, told attendees how children from the age of five up take photos of their homework, which is directly uploaded to teachers’ mobile devices and smartphones.

Teachers can then select specific parts of the homework and leave voice feedback all through the use of a mobile device.

Mr Chohan noted that this innovative method for marking homework significantly reduces the amount of time teachers spend on this aspect of school life, and also improves the quality of the feedback to the benefit of students and teachers alike.

In addition, Mr Chohan noted that by communicating via voice feedback, it helps to build a personal relationship between students, parents and teachers.

It’s an interesting take on an fundamental element of education, and one that is very likely to see increased adoption in schools all around the world over the coming years.

5 Tips For Keeping School Websites Safe

Cybercrime is on the rise around the world and with so many different forms of data and data collection now in use, there’s never been a greater need for robust security when it comes to school websites.

While modern cybercrime techniques employ innovative methods for gaining access to private information, it is possible to protect personal data by following a few simple steps.

1. Encrypt all devices

It’s extremely important to encrypt the central device used by the school to store data about students, parents, teachers and admin. It also recommended that any device used by staff remains encrypted at all times to prevent unathorised access.

2. Perform regular backups

Ransomware attacks involve an outside party taking control of your device and preventing you from accessing data on it. By backing up the school’s data on a regular basis, you’ll reduce the likelihood of losing all data in the event of an attack.

3. Create awareness

It’s advisable to not only spread awareness of good technology habits and the threat of cybercrime among staff, but also students. More and more schools are introducing technology into their lessons, so it’s vital that students understand how to stay safe when using the internet.

4. Secure email with multi-step verficiation

Most email providers offer multi-step verification, and it’s a good idea to use it whenever possible. It makes it harder for criminals to access email accounts if they obtain your password, as they will need to input a unique code sent to a personal device of your choosing, such as a smartphone.

5. Update software when available

Out of date software is more vulnerable to exploitation, so remember to update software whenever a new version is made available. Most programs will alert you when a new update is ready for download so all you have to do is click.

iClassCMS features the latest security measures against all forms of cybercrime. To learn more, or request a free website review, please get in touch here.

GDPR And Your School

Boost School SEO

When the General Data Protection Regulation launched on May 25th of this year, many school’s were unsure of how the new rules would impact their websites.

One of the biggest changes of the new framework was the need for consent when it comes to collecting and publishing sensitive data.

Sensitive data in this case refers to the data of all students, staff and parents, and as a result it’s essential that your school website both explains how personal data is processed and asks for permission to store such data.

It’s vital that consent is given clearly and explicitly before any personal data is processed, and parental consent must be given for the school to process the data of any child under the age of 18.

Failure to follow the rules as set out in the General Data Protection Regulation can result in large fines so it’s essential that everyone who has access to the website back end understands the new laws.

iClassCMS school websites are GDPR compliant and in line with all current data laws.

For more information, please get in touch with us today.

Is Your School’s Website Responsive?

Responsive design is essential for any website that wants to succeed in this day and age, including school and education websites.

Responsive design offers a number of practical benefits in regards to generating website views and lowering website maintenance costs, and should be used by all schools regardless of their size or education level.

1. Mobile Users

The biggest benefit of responsive websites is the increase in mobile traffic you’ll receive.

Most people use a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet to search and shop on the Internet, and responsive design ensures they’ll be able to view your school’s website as intended without any errors or issues.

2. Lower Costs

As responsive websites provide an optimal layout for both mobile devices and computers, you’ll save money on maintenance costs.

Traditionally, website owners paid separate maintenance fees for the desktop and mobile versions of their site, but with responsive design you pay a single fee and save money.

3. Faster Loading

Responsive school websites also load faster than traditional sites, so you won’t have to worry about parents leaving before a webpage loads.

Longer loading times also mean more time spent navigating webpages and less time spent reading the information they contain, which can have a negative effect on the user’s perspective of your website.

 

The above are just a few of the great benefits responsive design you can enjoy with the iClassCMS platform.

For more information, or to organise a free website review, please get in touch with us today.

Take Advantage of Everything School Videos Have to Offer

As schools become more accustomed to the latest technologies, we’re seeing an increase in the use of school videos.

While recording a video was once a costly expense that most schools simply could not afford, thanks to smartphones and the popularity of video editing software it’s never been easier (or cheap!) to record a bespoke video for your school.

Some schools use video to promote their curriculum, giving prospective parents a glimpse at how their children will learn, in addition to the various extra-curricular activities students can participate with, such as sports, drama and music.

It’s a quick and easy way to draw interest in your school and keep attendance at a high, as most people use the Internet to research about local schools in the area and video offers a handy way for communicating large amounts of information in a condensed form.

They help your school stand out from the crowd and give the impression your school is a modern institution that understands the importance of staying abreast of the latest technologies.

School videos are also ideal for keeping parents of current students up to date with all the latest news and events, from sports days to school trips and everything in between.

School videos are a great and inexpensive way to promote your school and keep parents up to date with everything that’s going on, but it’s essential to ensure your school’s website is capable of publishing videos.

iClassCMS offers a simple solution for publishing school videos and a handy platform that keeps all your school videos in the one place so you can quickly access them whenever you need to.

For more information, please get in touch with us using the contact form.